Attitudes to Hindi, Tamil, etc.

Narayan S. Raja raja at galileo.IFA.Hawaii.Edu
Mon Apr 14 20:03:52 UTC 1997

On Mon, 14 Apr 1997, Srinivasan Pichumani wrote:

Raja wrote:

>> 	Sounds like the Hindi-speaking states at least pretend to 
>> 	study a third language, while we great and glorious Tamils 
>> 	have dropped even the pretence of studying any language 
>> 	other than Tamil and Hindi.  Which one sounds more fanatical ?
> 			     ^^^^^
> 			     English ?

Yes, I meant English.  Thank you.

> 	I think more people in the world would study Tamil if we 
> 	Tamilians would achieve something remarkable.  Many people 
> 	are now learning Japanese and Korean.  It's because of those 
> 	peoples' achievements.  Not because of their boasting, quarreling,
>   								^^^^^^^^^^
> 	and being just plain unpleasant.  You can't even sell a Big Mac by being 
> 	confrontational.  Much less convince people to study your culture.
> Its' interesting that you get most quarrelsome and pontificating
> whenever someone brings up this issue... earlier, it was Robert

Well, I'll just repeat, this time about
my own behaviour: "never attribute to malice
that which can be explained by stupidity."  :-)  :-)
I apologize for being quarrelsome.

> Zydenbos and others discussing the very real marginalization of
> other Indian languages.

My observation is that Indian languages (including Hindi)
are all being marginalized by English.  Hindi -- if at
all it's a "threat" to other languages, which I doubt -- 
is much less so than English.

Young kids in Madras nowadays are chattering
away in English (not in Tamil, definitely not
in Hindi).  I was unable to find any good-quality
Tamil books or tapes for my daughter, despite searching 
for two days in Trichy, and one day in Madras.  I was 
told "There aren't any."  (No, the Tamil books had not 
been driven out by Hindi books.  You can easily guess 
which language books were easily available everywhere).

Seriously, what do you think?  Is it English or Hindi 
that is displacing Tamil among many Tamil-speakers?
Since you live in Michigan (as I used to), perhaps you 
attend meetings of the Detroit/Michigan Tamil Sangham.  
In what language do most people -- Tamilians from TN,
most of them -- talk at those meetings?  You'd expect 
that people would see a "Tamil Sangham" meeting
as a rare opportunity to speak Tamil, wouldn't you? 
But in reality...?

This used to be primarily a Tamil Brahmin problem.
Unfortunately, that isn't true any longer.

I don't mind about the "takeover" by English.  I think
it has become part of "Tamil culture."  But it bugs me 
when people quietly ignore that fact and pick on Hindi.  
That seems like people in search of a grievance, rather 
than people who are really concerned about what's happening 
to Tamil.


And one final repetition, again applicable to myself as 
well as to others:
"never attribute to malice that which can be explained 
by stupidity."    Thank you.   :-) :-)

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